It's frozen, it's fruity, it has a rum base. From your perch near the rooftop, you'll see the rest of the world speed up while you slow down. Get pink guava and a hint of cinnamon with, yes, more rum. $12
There's perhaps no better rite of passage for patio season in Santa Fe than the first sip at the rooftop cantina. A recent renovation means spray-paint art on the adobe walls and a VIP seating area with bottle service. Our staff argued about which cocktail to mention, so know this: You can still order a Brazilian—it's just not on the menu. The Thai Kamikaze with coconut milk, vodka and kefir lime was a strong second, just a hair ahead of the delightfully bitter and foamy lychee and watermelon Pink Geisha. Nothing on the $12 craft list disappoints.
Gruet Gilbert Grande Reserve
A creamy sparkling wine with a crispy, grapey flavor and a clean finish, it's the top of the line for this local maker. $13
The Gruet family has been growing grapes and refining their methode Champagne on New Mexico soil since 1983. A tasting room in the Hotel St. Francis is stiff competition for the adjacent Secreto Lounge. And not just bubbly, but a robust line of still wines means this hidden hangout could be your secret date weapon. Our pick is named for daddy Gilbert Gruet, whose son Laurent is keeping up the family tradition by producing grapes not just from the original estate, but from properties all over New Mexico.
Rod’s Best Bitter
A balanced beer that's interesting without being overpowering; malty up front but with enough hops to create a clean finish. $5, 16 oz.
Back in the day, we used to try to name the one beer we'd drink if we could only drink one beer for the rest of our lives. It was a needlessly cruel exercise, but it had a certain zen. Rod's is one of those beers (the "bitter" in the name refers to the style, not the taste). Plus, Second Street removes all the gluten. There's so much great beer around town that you don't have to limit your experience. But, if you did …
Blood orange juice with vodka and a sugar-citrus rim, served ice-cold in a martini glass. $8
Who says happy hour has to be downtown? Join the gang for a lively scene with indoor and outdoor seating options and a full bar menu that's half-price during happy hour. We also spotted a grapefruit concoction with a citrus twists that's worth a sip. With a movie theater and four other restaurants a stone's throw away, this Southside spot is a destination.
Santa Fe Capitol Grill
3462 Zafarano Drive,
Sip a fermented carrot drink with lingering flavor of just a hint of what Bugs craves. Local and loco. $4.50, 10 oz.
What's up, doc? While one guy at the bar recently told us the Purple Bunny beverage reminds him of a veggie burger, we taste an earthy, slightly tart cider that's the very definition of home-grown. You'll find a great selection of regional brews and other handcrafted local cider from too many fruits to name, limited by just the imagination of brewer Craig Moya. Think rhubarb, granny apple and apricot for starters. Get a $6 Chicago dog or one with chile, and don't miss the patio.
La Choza Red
A classic twist on a solid margarita with pomegranate liqueur and Cimarron Blanco tequila, garnished with a salt rim and lime wedge. $8.50
The best way to consume a Santa Fe original margarita is alongside a plate of chile, cheese and all the fixings. La Choza is the locals' choice for tasty plates just far enough outside the tourist zone. Watch for an expanded outdoor seating area soon. The bar specializes in blue agave tequila. Be prepared to wait for a table on a Friday night, but rest assured you can grab a drink from the bar while you wait.
Fresh Ginger Ale
Muddled ginger, fresh-squeezed lemon, simple syrup and soda water. $4
If you've made it through the first six drinks, it's probably time for a little cleanse. Even if you order the Big Ass BLT bacon patty for dinner, stay frosty with a housemade soda. The fresh ginger ale is heavy on the lemon with a subtle sweetness and ginger zing. Other nonalcoholic options here include a creamsicle soda, which is just like what you'd expect, and other specials. And if you're still ready for more beer, the doctor has a prescription for whichever beer you crave in a robust tap list that includes local and regional picks.